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Nature trail made from duckboards in Nyrölä, Jyväskylä, Central Finland
A Japanese duckboard, sunoko (簀子)
Nature trail made from duckboards in the High Fens, Xhoffraix, Belgium

A duckboard is a platform made of wooden slats built over muddy ground to form a dry passageway.


Duckboards are used to allow hikers to safely pass moist areas of ground, such as a swamp or shores of a lake. Specially wide duckboards are often used to provide wheelchair access. Duckboards are nailed into their support logs at the end of the logs with wooden stakes.

World War I[edit]

Australian soldiers walking along duckboards during the Battle of Passchendaele

During World War I, duckboards were used to line the bottom of trenches on the Western Front, as these were regularly flooded. Mud and water would lie in the trenches for months on end. The boards helped to keep the soldiers' feet dry and prevent the development of trench foot caused by prolonged standing in waterlogged conditions. They also allowed for troops' easier movement through the trench systems. In the Ypres Salient duckboards were laid at ground-level to help soldiers advance to the front lines. Falling or slipping off the duckboards could often be deadly, with unfortunate soldiers drowning in mud under the weight of their equipment.

Use in Industry[edit]

Used in factories with concrete floors, wooden duckboards provide a comfortable platform for workers who stand in one place, such as lathe operators. The flex of wood is easier on the legs over a shift than concrete.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Duckboards at Wikimedia Commons